The telecommunications sector is undergoing a swift transition.
The use of AI data analyzation is rapidly increasing, speed and connectivity demands from customers are growing, and competitors continue to advance their capabilities. With mobile and 5G services leading the charge, it’s important for companies within the telecom industry to stay agile.
Many companies, such as Telefónica de Argentina, BT Group and Bharti Airtel are at an inflection point that goes beyond simply delivering connectivity. To prepare for the future, these businesses are embracing cloud-based technologies in a bid to keep up with customer demands.
But modernization often requires a reevaluation of strategies, a realignment of priorities and an experienced IT partner. So, what should telcos focus on to be ready for the future?
Here, Todd Scott, Senior Vice President & Managing Partner of Kyndryl US, answers those questions and talks about the best ways to remain successful during this pivotal time.
What are the unique challenges telcos face in modernizing their technology environment?
There are multiple types of challenges companies in this industry face when it comes to modernizing their IT environments. Perhaps the two big ones are the security of data and the need for increased flexibility. With security, there’s lots of data going across their networks and the applications they're providing, so they need to put systems in place to give not only comfort to themselves but comfort to any enterprise that might be moving significant amounts of data across their platforms on public networks. In terms of increasing flexibility, this challenge is tied to satisfying the needs of customers. This means taking existing applications and making them more user-friendly and seamless, accessible anywhere, anytime.
Many telco transformations are hindered by complex security and privacy requirements. How can companies take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity and trust?
Cybersecurity is a challenge regardless of industry. When you think about security, it's not just data — it's not just the internal environment, it's the network you are managing or using. Organizations have become too reliant on point solutions, very expensive software products to execute different parts of their cybersecurity and resiliency environment. Many of these systems are integrated, they’re not able to provide real value. To be proactive, it’s important to build a security and resiliency strategy that's truly end to end. That's a big part of what Kyndryl can do — design or build out a framework that will allow all those solutions or applications on a single pane of glass. Additionally, we will devise a plan that is reliable in the event of an incident.
How are advanced technologies like the cloud helping telcos meet ever-growing industry demands?
The cloud allows these companies to be able to better manage bigger bands of information and ways of collecting information. The technology, whether it's a public or private cloud, gives them an improved performance and a lot more capabilities beyond what they have today. So, they are collecting all this data and when they start engaging with AI through IoT devices. The cloud is the infrastructure that is necessary to administer the exchange of data and provide that flexibility. We just announced an expansion of work with Telefonica de Argentina to manage Telefonica’s hybrid cloud infrastructure and integrate automation technology to improve the service and application experience of its customers in Argentina.
The advent of 5G continues to transform the telecom industry, with renewed focus on customer experience. A distributed cloud infrastructure combined with networks enables telcos to create a new model to host content, applications and information closer to the end user via edge compute. Edge provides reliable low-latency connectivity, enabling real-time intensive applications like augmented reality, drone and virtual reality.
How does AI play a role in the future of telecommunications?
AI can mean a lot of different things. For the telecommunications industry, it’s about putting companies in a position to take data and do something with it quickly and in a smart fashion. You can do a lot of different things with the data collected but if you don't have ways of synthesizing that data, having the data means nothing. AI is going to be the core piece of being able to gather that information and make sense of it all.
How can Kyndryl’s strategic partnerships with Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud and Nokia help businesses modernize?
With these partnerships, we can help a customer not just build out a cyber resiliency strategy but advise them on which platforms they should be implementing based on their current IT environment. Then we can implement and help to migrate workloads to the cloud. We’re providing an end-to-end solution and managing it in a way that best meets the capabilities, flexibility and adaptability they want to provide to their customers. These hyperscaler relationships are central to the new edge-computing ecosystem, where network, cloud and other infrastructure technologies converge. The hyperscalers have the enterprise relationships and Kyndryl is at the forefront of providing the managed services. At Kyndryl, the customers are always the centerpiece of it, and we are here to help them realize the benefits.
How else can Kyndryl help telcos adapt and prepare for the future?
The Securities and Exchange Commission just came out with a cybersecurity risk management strategy governance and incident disclosure. Boards and senior executives now will be held accountable for their cyber strategy policies. Kyndryl can clearly help our customers, and we can do that a couple of ways. We can advise on how to document and present your cyber resiliency strategy; if needed, we can help strengthen it so that board members don't feel like they're taking unsafe or unknown risks. As a trusted advisor, we have experience partnering with multiple companies to help build out these capabilities for customers without bias.